Beck allowed misinformation on minimum wage hike

››› ››› ROB DIETZ

On his CNN program, Glenn Beck allowed the Cato Institute's James Dorn to repeat a much-circulated myth that the minimum wage increase proposal would benefit "typically your part-time ... young workers that are making minimum wage," adding that [m]ost of these workers are in families that have incomes in the middle income or even higher middle-income families."

On the January 9 edition of his CNN Headline News program, Glenn Beck called a Democratic proposal to raise the federal minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $7.25 per hour "nothing but a political issue" and allowed James A. Dorn, vice president for Academic Affairs at the Cato Institute, to repeat a much-circulated myth that the proposal would benefit "typically your part-time ... young workers that are making minimum wage." Dorn added that "[m]ost of these workers are in families that have incomes in the middle income or even higher middle-income families." But by noting only those who are currently "making minimum wage," Dorn ignored those earning more than $5.15 per hour but less than $7.25 per hour whose wages will also increase if the Democratic proposal is adopted. As Media Matters for America has noted (here and here), according to an Economic Policy Institute briefing paper, an "[a]nalysis of the 2005 Current Population Survey reveals that the workers potentially affected by a minimum wage increase are mainly adults who typically work full time and provide significant income to their families."

While Dorn did not specify what he meant by "young workers," according to EPI, a majority -- 71 percent -- of those earning less than $7.25 are age 20 or over. Also, while 43 percent of those earning less than $7.25 are full-time (at least 35 hours a week) workers, according to EPI, when those workers earning more than $7.25 but likely to be subject to "spillover effects" are factored in, 53 percent of those who would be affected by the Democratic proposal are full-time workers.

Earlier in his "Real Story" segment, Beck had characterized the view of supporters of the minimum wage increase as "anyone who votes against it automatically hates poor people, wants to starve their children to death" and compared the minimum wage proposal to global warming because "[y]ou can't actually ask commonsense questions about global warming and whether humans are responsible for it, because once you do -- oh, you're just a hatemonger who wants all those polar bears and penguins to die."

From the January 9 edition of CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck:

BECK: Yeah. Yeah, that's right. The minimum wage on the docket tomorrow, because anyone who votes against it automatically hates poor people, wants to starve their children to death. That's the message that always seems to get sent, isn't it?

Well, here's the real story. The real story is that message is wrong. The minimum wage has become nothing but a political issue and, because of that, all logic just gets thrown right out the window completely. Apparently, common sense and compassion can't mix.

It's just like global warming. You can't actually ask commonsense questions about global warming and whether humans are responsible for it, because once you do -- oh, you're just a hatemonger who wants all those polar bears and penguins to die.

[...]

BECK: Right, but who's making it? Who is the person that is making minimum wage? And how long do they make it?

DORN: These are typically your part-time, you know, young workers that are making minimum wage. Most of these workers are in families that have incomes in the middle income or even higher middle-income families.

Very few people in poverty with families are making the minimum wage, maybe 15 percent of earners, and these are the -- exactly the people who will be hurt the most by an increase in the minimum wage, the lowest-skilled workers in poverty families.

Posted In
Economy, Jobs, Wages, & Unemployment
Network/Outlet
CNN Headline News
Person
Glenn Beck
Show/Publication
Glenn Beck show
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